Battling the Design world after your B.F.A
After four or five years of intense dedication and honing your design skillset, you finally have a degree under your belt and can tackle the real world of art studios, production houses, and marketing firms.
Then graduation day has come and then passed. Yet you still have no job offers, no interviews lined up nor did your internship program hire you full-time. Expectations and opportunities are shrinking and you have to get the ball rolling. Every job application you apply for requires 1 - 2 years of experience. What the heck? You just graduated and got a degree. Doesn't that count for anything? Why is it so difficult to get a design job? Well I am here to pass on the knowledge I have gained to help the transition from college to real world design go a little easier.
Tips, Tricks & Work
1. Apply with a custom resume & cover letter to each location. This means no copying and pasting information just to get 50 applications out in a day. Companies want to see you have invested time and energy into their structure. Employees who understand the mission and values of the company will go a lot further than the John Smith resume that everyone submits. If it is a corporate company, a resume in word or pdf format with minimal design is fine. However, if you are applying to a design firm, marketing agency or production house, have a designed resume ready to go. This is your time to shine. Include 5 pages of your best portfolio along with your resume or your website link.
2. Constantly be on multiple sites looking for the job you want. MonsterCollege, Indeed, The Creative Group, and LinkedIn are just a few options to get a profile made with easily accessible contact information. Fill these profiles out just like you would on your website or resume and keep it consistent with the content.
4. Talk about yourself with confidence, yet have a huge ability to grow at the company.
5. Take a job even if it isn't necessarily related to your field. I worked in a Title Agency helping with marketing before I landed a full-time design job. I worked there for three months, but it saved me from having a gap in my resume. Always be growing, searching and moving forward.
6. Never give up. The average design student who graduates with a full-time job in this field is very rare. Most designers take other jobs until they can get their foot in the door. And that’s okay. Keep applying, doing freelance work, social media, and any avenue that leads you to the design job of your dreams. :)
7. Always update your portfolio. Whether you have to design logos for free, brand a friend's t-shirt or make posters for a local band, constantly growing is going to get your work noticed.
8. Get on a portfolio site or create your own website! I was on behance.net for 5 years before I switched to purchasing my website. Whatever you have do even if it's free do it.
Other great sites include: Squarespace, Wix, GoDaddy, ShowIt, Wordpress, Behance
9. Be versatile. Your portfolio should include print, interactive, social media, animation, or website content. Print: mount your work like you would in class on black mat board with a one inch border. Online: Label with title and description of work or how you contributed to each project.
Photography Credit: @kelly_sikkema & @nordwood